Baracoa: The Foodie and Nature Lover's Paradise
Magical, mysterious, and mystical, this town is a jewel to behold, and if you're a foodie or nature lover you'll find there are tons of great things to do in Baracoa. Cuba’s oldest and most isolated town is known for it's beguiling atmosphere, weird people, outlandish style, and je ne sais quoi.
Baracoa sits in the far reaches of the Guantanamo Province. Beyond mountains and rivers, you’ll find this town known for natural wonders and as Cuba’s secret foodie hotspot with plenty of amazing things to do and try. What could be better than an outdoor adventure followed by a delicious, relaxing meal? Raft or canoe down one of the four rivers, hike Baracoa Anvil, or take a long walk along the water before sinking your teeth into something awesome. This is the place where you’ll find Cuban staples with pizzazz. Coconut, exotic fruits, and a wide variety of spices add a depth to Baracoa's take on Cuban cuisine. Seafood and sweets are not to be missed here!
THINGS TO DO IN BARACOA
If getting sun is on your list of things to do in Baracoa, a day in Parque Natural Majayara can be easily spent hiking and/or swimming. Explore caves along the archeological trail, hike to a swimming spot, or pay Señor Fuentes for a tour of his family property with stops for coffee and fruit tastings.
There’s no shortage of things to do outside the park as well. Travel just a few kilometers beyond the airport to experience a black sand beach. Or take a tour of cacao plantations. Hike up the landmark mountain known as the Baracoa Anvil. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, one of the best things to do in Baracoa is to head out to the well-kept secret known as Salto Fino, Cuba’s tallest waterfall.
Ask your Casa Particular hosts to send you on an adventure, they’re sure to have a favorite!
Baracoa is known for producing exceptional white chocolate. In fact, you might smell chocolate coming from the local chocolate factory (sorry, no visitors allowed). However, another thing to do is learn about chocolate at Casa del Cacao, a free museum where you’ll learn the history of chocolate production in the region. You’ll likely lay out a few pesos though, the cafe offers irresistible chocolate options.
The Fabrica de Cucuruchu is the only factory in the world that makes Baracoa’s sweetest treat. Cucuruchu is a sticky blend of mango, coconut, banana and honey served in palm leaves. You'll find street vendors throughout Baracoa offering to sell you this irresistible concoction!
Forts to Explore
Three Spanish forts once protected this town, visiting their ruins is one of the most history-oriented things to do in Baracoa. Fuerte Matachin houses the Museo Municipal. El Castillo de Seboruco is now a hotel, but was once the highest fort in Baracoa; the views from this hotel are incredible. Fuerte de la Punta is situated along the water and has been turned into a restaurant.
An Underground Museum
The Museo Arqueologico La Cueva del Paraiso is housed in a series of caves that were once Taino burial chambers. You’ll never see another museum like it. A guide will lead you through the caves while telling stories about the unearthed skeletons, ceramics, and petroglyphs that you’ll see along the way. This is especially a great thing for history buffs and nature lovers looking for things to do in Baracoa!
Baracoa isn’t known as Cuba’s foodie paradise for no good reason. Sample the sweets mentioned above, but also make every meal worth it. Some of the best food in the country is here. Anything that comes with lechita - the local coconut sauce made of coconut, tomato, and garlic - is not to be missed! Seafood is everywhere, be sure to try the prawns and dorado! Give your sweet tooth an extra workout trying all the fresh fruit like guava and papaya as well. When looking for things to do in Baracoa, you won't be let down if you stick to food and nature!
- Photo credit: Aldo van Zeeland via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND
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